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5 early bold predictions on 2021 NFL season

2021 Patriots Season:
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Next Up: vs Dolphins
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Sun
Sep 12th

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BobDigital

Pro Bowl Player
#1 KC won't make the AFC title game. KC has been to the super bowl 2 times in a row. Since the salary cap era the only team to EVER go 3 times in a row is the Pats. KC already achieved the incredibly rare feat of going to 3 straight AFC/NFC championship games. People have already penciled them in for a 4th straight. People just assume because the Patriots made 8 in a row that's it's easy. Fun fact. KC 18-20' and GB 95'-97' Phi 01'-04' and SF 11'-13' are the only other teams in the salary cap era to do 3 or more. Doing 3 is REALLY hard. Doing 4 very unlikely. On KC's side is the fact that Andy Reid has done it before with Philly. But luck plays a part. Maybe KC will become the third team is the cap era to do it. But I don't think so. People might ask “who or what do I think will stop them?” My answer.... I have no idea. Bad luck, injuries, cap issues, a team getting hot at the right time. I just think something will get in their way. I also think they are likely to miss the first seed this year due to some issues I see popping up, that will make it much harder in the new format.

#2 Tom Brady will win the MVP. Total homer take rooting for our wayward boy? I think not. The Bucs will have almost the same talent back. And the 2nd year in BA's offense is always better than the first. Who will be his main competitors for it? Mahomes, Rodgers, Jackson, Allen, Watson and Wilson. Maybe Stafford or Dak. They will put up numbers. I think Brady takes it.

Rodgers will lose Aaron Jones, OL and maybe even his top TE. Expect growing pains. Mahomes will have issues too, OL situation/Talent drain/injuries. He won't be as good statistically as last year IMO. Jackson has been figured out a little compared to first full year. Watson is a good QB, but last year he was amazing. He won't repeat that while having to learn a new offense, or worse; if he stays. It also didn't hurt that Houston had only 7 rushing TDs not by Watson. Wilson had an amazing start but then he remembered his OL is meh. And no first round help is coming in the draft. He may well be able to repeat his success of last year though and is my clear #2 candidate. If he team forgoes resigning all their key defensive guys to load up on offense, he would become the most likely winner, but I don't see that happening. Allen/Diggs will dry up a little next year now that teams have a season of tape on it.

As for Dak and Stafford, that ain't happening. Dak feasted on the few bad Ds he played early before getting hurt. He is what his stats over all the previous years before say he is. Pretty good, but great. Stafford is Stafford no matter who he plays with. If he couldn't win it will Megatron he ain't winning it now.

#3 GB will miss the NFCCG – The same kind of reason as #1, but more so. The teams who has the second best SB odds by some. They made 2 in a row, which is good. But they are going to stublem next year. While I don't tend to value RBs, but I like dynamic duel threats like Jones. The OL loses will hurt just as much if not more. GB kinda went all last year. You could feel the desperation and disappointment when they lost, like they knew they missed their last best chance, maybe for the rest of Rodgers' career. And unlike KC, they don't need to fall on their face. I see any number of teams capable of potentially taking them out in the relatively stronger NFC.

#4 The OROY will NOT be a QB – Looking back on recent rookie of the year QBs, they fall into two categories. The first are, super athletes like Murray, Cam and RG3 who fell into okay enough situations. The second is athletic but more traditional Qbs that got drafted into a good situation. The Jags and Jets will take a QB, and even with all the cap space in the world they will need to do a full rebuild. I don't see it going well in year 1. That's the top 2 Qbs going to impossible situations. No matter how talented. After Lawrence and Fields go 1 and 2, it will come down to how Wilson and Lance do most likely. Wilson might take some time and he's not a super athlete, so even if he lands in a good situation I don't know if he comes on big year 1. Lance may well have a good shot with his running ability, but it all depends on where he goes. And after being away from football for over a year, I could see him having a rocky start. So I don't think any of these QBs take it. This is a year one of the talented RBs or WRs take it.

#5 The Patriots will make the playoffs. After looking at the cap situation around the league and seeing how many free agents there are and price tag, it has become clear there are more sellers than buyers. A lot of slightly lower end free agents this year will need to take a bit of a pay cut. It can't be helped even if every team tries to push the cap forward next year. The only players who may not be effected are the 5 and 4 star guys. For those 3 and 2 star options, they are going to need to either choose to take the year off or play on a discount. It just so happens those are the contracts Bill likes the most. There was talk about Bill being aggressive in Free Agency. I think that has more to due with bodies than top end guys. I don't expect Bill to ever extend for a Godwin or anything. But I expect him to load up on a bunch of those good but not great players. They were IMO worse than their 7-9 record last year. But it also has to be said that the fact they got such bad QB play and were competitive in so many games speaks certain aspects the team has in place. They may only go 9-7, but it may be enough to get them in with the new 7 team format. 10-6 would almost surely do it.

Bonus - The AFCCG will be Browns vs Ravens and the Browns will win. The NFCCG will be the Bucs vs SF with the Bucs winning. Bucs will beat the Browns in the SB. Why? IMO the best teams going into next year in the NFC are SF, LAR and TB. LAR with Stafford? I don't see Stafford getting it done. Not against the SF or TB D. I have no idea who SF's QB will be, but they will be able to protect him better than LAR can protect Stafford. After that I see a hard fought match with a healthy SF and TB teams which TB wins. I think KC stumbles and they get the Ravens get the 1 seed. I don't trust Lamar much, but with the 1 seed he should have an easy out that he can work with. Someone is going to beat KC besides Brady this year in the playoffs. While I don't think the Browns are a great team, I think they have talent and will be able to add to it. Last year was a good experience and they build on it. Many unfortunate plays happened last year to them against KC, I see it balancing out this year and getting the bounces if they play again in the tournament. The Bills and Ravens are also teams KC has traditionally had their way with, eventually they will have it go there way.
 

Deus Irae

PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club
PatsFans.com Supporter
#5 The Patriots will make the playoffs. After looking at the cap situation around the league and seeing how many free agents there are and price tag, it has become clear there are more sellers than buyers. A lot of slightly lower end free agents this year will need to take a bit of a pay cut. It can't be helped even if every team tries to push the cap forward next year. The only players who may not be effected are the 5 and 4 star guys. For those 3 and 2 star options, they are going to need to either choose to take the year off or play on a discount. It just so happens those are the contracts Bill likes the most. There was talk about Bill being aggressive in Free Agency. I think that has more to due with bodies than top end guys. I don't expect Bill to ever extend for a Godwin or anything. But I expect him to load up on a bunch of those good but not great players. They were IMO worse than their 7-9 record last year. But it also has to be said that the fact they got such bad QB play and were competitive in so many games speaks certain aspects the team has in place. They may only go 9-7, but it may be enough to get them in with the new 7 team format. 10-6 would almost surely do it.
This one will be very interesting for the board, and will be gone over about a million times this offseason. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to use this part of your post to set up a "But, why" sort of questioning, and I'd like to start with,

"But which teams do you think will drop out, and why?"
 

farn

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
I don’t think Brady will win the MVP. There are so so many players in the league and even in some of his strongest campaigns, he wasn’t chosen.

I also don’t think NE’s return to the playoffs will happen. Not saying it won’t, but the rebuild continues for 2021. Having said that, @Deus Irae asks « which teams won’t make it » : I’ll play. Colts will have a new QB and might not find one that suits them to the point of competing with TEN. And they might not get the record they need to be a wildcard. All three AFCN teams are, IMO, in peril of not making the playoffs. I very much doubt all three teams of any division will get the required wins. Pitt seems to be in disarray. Their QB looked cooked last year and the trend from early fav to disaster reminded me of the 12-4 NE team two years ago. The Browns, while talented, are not to be trusted. They did well last year, but I have no faith in their braintrust, nor their QB, nor their mercurial hothead players. I think the Chiefs, Ravens, and Bills are the 3 most likely returnees for 2021, but none of the three inspire me to place $.
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
This one will be very interesting for the board, and will be gone over about a million times this offseason. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to use this part of your post to set up a "But, why" sort of questioning, and I'd like to start with,

"But which teams do you think will drop out, and why?"
This is based on an admittedly overly simplistic, one-dimensional rationale, but based on (lack of) cap space I would speculate that the Saints, Steelers and Rams are 2020 playoff teams that will miss the 2021 postseason.
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
As for the Patriots, I would have to say it is more unlikely than likely that they make the playoffs. Buffalo has a very good roster, and the Dolphins are in great position in terms of the cap (8th most $ to spend), while also owning the #3 and #18 pick in the draft. It is very rare that three teams from one division make the playoffs in the same season, with the third ranked team having to compete against team(s) in weaker divisions. While the Pats do have cap space they have too many positions in need of upgrade, and are literally in the middle of the pack in terms of draft order.
 

sb1

Pro Bowl Player
So hard right now to predict where the Pats will end up with so much uncertainty with the roster and no QB. This is not an ordinary team starting their rebuild from nothing, there are a few foundational pieces here and there is cap space should they choose to use it. We all know moves are going to be made and good players will be drafted.

2021 is year 1 of the rebuild. It doesn't matter to me whether they make it or not as much as whether progression is being made. A year from now hopefully the roster is younger and the foundation is in place for a realistic playoff run and maybe more in 2022 and beyond. That includes the QB.

Brady MVP? I'd say probably not but I wouldn't bet against it either.
 
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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
PatsFans.com Supporter
Brady at 16/1 and Bucs at 12/1 are the best bets you can make, agree with @BobDigital. Both of those futures odds will be corrected by the market. That team will be even better than 2020 and has a total cakewalk schedule.

Assuming their over/under is less than 12, take that too (or 13 on 17 game schedule.)

By the way, looked at the historical trends, and betting the over on a team led by Brady or Manning is at over 80%. Mahomes is also 3-0. Rodgers also would be well ahead if not for injuries but is still .500 on the over even though three seasons were derailed. Rare low hanging fruit by handicappers on those bets.

It’s just way too soon to say with the Patriots. Roster is so far from resembling its ultimate 2021 form.

It’s really early, but here are a few things I like besides being really bullish on Tampa Bay:
  • San Diego is almost certain to be overrated by Vegas because their QB looks very good, but this franchise never puts it together.
  • Arizona is another team I’m bearish on; I think Kyler Murray is pretty overrated and the public is overconfident in him.
  • New Orleans may be able to keep most of their players if Brees is retiring and they have their starter on the cheap. That team is like 8-1 over the last two years minus Brees and is absolutely stacked. I said all year Brees is an overall liability with his dead arm and injuries. Most likely they’ll be undervalued.
 

skinnydog

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
I expect the Pats will be better on paper, but unless they solve the QB position I still see them as behind Buffalo and Miami. Third place teams rarely make the playoffs.
 

Deus Irae

PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club
PatsFans.com Supporter
I expect the Pats will be better on paper, but unless they solve the QB position I still see them as behind Buffalo and Miami. Third place teams rarely make the playoffs.

First, let me note here that I think we should all agree that it's so early in the offseason that nobody should be held to account for what they are thinking at this stage of the game. Having said that:

Would you say that your take here is more about your current faith in the Dolphins ability to continue to improve, or about your concern for what BB will be able to pull off outside of the QB position?
 

skinnydog

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
First, let me note here that I think we should all agree that it's so early in the offseason that nobody should be held to account for what they are thinking at this stage of the game. Having said that:

Would you say that your take here is more about your current faith in the Dolphins ability to continue to improve, or about your concern for what BB will be able to pull off outside of the QB position?
More the Dolphins improving and being a solid overall team. Pats needing another year to begin to pull it together even with some good non-QB moves.
 

Sicilian

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
This one will be very interesting for the board, and will be gone over about a million times this offseason. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to use this part of your post to set up a "But, why" sort of questioning, and I'd like to start with,

"But which teams do you think will drop out, and why?"

Of the AFC playoff teams from last year:

Bills - Playoff team, all but guaranteed.

KC - Same.

Steelers - I wouldn't bet on them winning the division again, but they probably make the playoffs.

Ravens - I think they're in too... with the caveat that I still think coaches are going to catch up to that offense. But until then, Ravens are in.

Browns - This is one of the likely candidates I think, but I'll admit I probably have a bias because they're the Browns. Still, they had a nice breakout year under a new coach, and I feel like those teams tend to take a step back in year 2. We'll see, but if I had to place a bet on one of the 7 teams not making it, I'm going Browns.

Titans - They and the Colts (more on them in a bit) are interesting. In a way, it kind of depends on what Caserio does in Houston. If he deals Watson, I think it's a two horse race in the South (Jags won't be a playoff team in Lawrence's first year, I would guess), and Tennessee is my frontrunner. If Watson stays, and they can add some other pieces, they could challenge for it. Doesn't help the Patriots path to the playoffs, but just as an exercise of 2020 teams that could miss in 2021.

Colts - I'll need to see their QB first. I like the program that Reich has built there, but if the dropoff is Rivers to Brissett, I have to believe they drop at least 2 more games.
 

Ochmed Jones

Pro Bowl Player
First, let me note here that I think we should all agree that it's so early in the offseason that nobody should be held to account for what they are thinking at this stage of the game. Having said that:

Would you say that your take here is more about your current faith in the Dolphins ability to continue to improve, or about your concern for what BB will be able to pull off outside of the QB position?

I agree. Way too early to even begin to speculate.

It is a long way til July when training camps, hopefully open up again.

lots of time for free agency, the draft and trades.

Once the cap is finally set, lots of teams have to start purging.

the only definite at this point is if we want to be relevant in 2021, bb the GM has to be on his game and deliver this this offseason.
 

VectorPrime

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
The Ravens are in the most confusing situation in the league because it’s impossible to know what the hell they have in Jackson.
 

BobDigital

Pro Bowl Player
This one will be very interesting for the board, and will be gone over about a million times this offseason. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to use this part of your post to set up a "But, why" sort of questioning, and I'd like to start with,

"But which teams do you think will drop out, and why?"

Good question. I'm a lot less confident about other teams but i'll take a stab at it. As a reminder the playoff teams last year were KC, BUF, PIT, TEN, BAL, CLV, IND, GB, NO, SEA, WSH, TB, LAR, CHI.

AFC - KC, BAL and BUF should all be easy ins.

IND - Rivers played really well for Indy and they will have issues replacing him. Indy has a ton of cap space but also a lot of holes. That near 70M can go fast. Lets say they choose to sign a Vet QB, Rhodes, Houston and Hilton back. That would cost them between 40-60M. Let's call it 50. That gives them the ability to sign 2-3 decent impact guys. On the surface they should be better, but they really felt like a team that overachieved. If it wasn't for Rivers having one of his best and most clutch years they wouldn't be relevant. I don't think that replace that production, even if they pay more for it (unless they get Watson, which isn't happening). When it comes down to it I just don't trust the management and even if they become more talented the projected loss at the QB position will be great. It will be close.

MIA - They'll be in it again I think. It's hard not to see how they will be better. They are a bit of a fraud last year, but this year they have a good foundation to build on without losing anyone important while also having the chance to add.

NWE- They'll get a better solution than Cam, bring back what was a good D last year and add a few good skill players behind one of the better OLs in the NFL.

PIT - They were the luckiest 12-4 team last year. Bringing back Ben is a mistake. The Steelers are still 15M over the cap after Pouncey retired. Getting under will be a challenge for them, but possible. However they are going to lose a number of plays most likely. Juju, Conner, Villanueva on offense. Not to mention many of their best defensive players like Dupree, Williamson, Hilton and Sutton. While they last 2 aren't great they are 2 CBs who saw a fair amount of snaps they need to replace and they aren't bad. Pitt is in for a bad year. They will miss. Bank on it.

CLV - In.

TEN - I'm meh on them much like Indy. They both fall back to earth after being lucky to do as well as they did last year. Only 1 team makes it from this Division. Frankly as odd as it is to say, I have more faith in Tannehill that most QBs Indy can get. It's close.

So in the AFC at least my order going by seed probably looks like BAL, KC, BUF, TEN, CLV, MIA NWE. Indy, Oak, Cincy and LV are all decent but miss.

As for the NFC, this post is already pretty long so i won't bore you will too many details but this is who i think makes it in order.

TB, SF, GB, WSH (Henicke magic lol), LAR, SEA and AZ. This would be crazy to happen. The entire NFCW making it. But I believe it is possible. Eagles and Falcons are in cap trouble and so won't bounce back. Dallas finds a way to miss and go 8-8. why would that change now? They will need to gut the team to sign Dak back, and I think they will lol. No is in cap hell. The Vikings will find a way to mess up this chance. Yeah. LOL. Go big or go home right?
 
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